Shopping allowed on Easter Sunday

After years of dodging the law and ignoring it all together, retailers in Wanaka will finally be able to legally trade on Easter Sunday.

The Queenstown Lakes District Council voted to accept the Local Easter Sunday Shop Trading Policy allowing shops in the district to open on Easter Sunday.

The Shop Trading Hours Act 1990 was amended in 2016 to enable councils to decide whether retailers in their district could open on Easter Sunday.

Easter Friday is not part of the new policy and it will remain illegal for most shops in Wanaka to trade on that day.

Shops in neighbouring Queenstown are exempt from the Easter trading restrictions.

Kodak, Photo and Digital shop owner Steve Worley said the decision was good news but it allowed shopping on the wrong day.

Making trading legal on Good Friday made more sense because it was part of the working week.

Mr Worley has been prosecuted twice for opening on Good Friday.

''In the first case I spent $10,000 fighting it and it was close but we didn't win and the second time not me personally but the business was convicted but weren't fined or even had to pay court costs because the judge saw how ridiculous the situation was.''

Wanaka Paper Plus manager Chris Lumsden said it was good to see some common sense finally being used.

''No-one likes to be a lawbreaker - even if it's a parking fine or whatever, you do something wrong you have to pay for it in some way.''

The store had successfully fought two charges for breaching the law in the past.

''We haven't seen them again since last time we got taken to court and it got thrown out and the told them to stop wasting everyone's time.''

Wanaka and the rest of society had moved on since the Shop Trading Hours Act was passed in 1990, he said.

Shop owners did not chose to break the law because they were bad people but because there was the demand for the public to shop on those days.

The law was still not perfect with shops in Queenstown allowed to open but that was an issue for another day, he said.

''The council has done what it can which is great for us.''

Deputy mayor and Wanaka ward councillor Calum Macleod said an amendment in the policy made sure employees also had the choice of working on Easter Sunday or not.

''Just as the shops now have the choice we wanted to make sure workers also had the choice''

Mayor Jim Boult said the new policy fixed the anomaly which allowed shops in Queenstown to open but not Wanaka.

''My personal view is that this has always been a great anomaly that shops can trade on this side of the hill but can't on that side of the hill, so I think this addresses that issue.''

tim.miller@odt.co.nz

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